Now create as many possible solutions as you can to each problem. Try brainstorming and consulting experts. Give yourself time and let your unconscious work on a problem while sleeping or in the shower (Malouff, 2006). And keep on trying. Avoid thinking in terms of either/or. I should stay or I should go. Change your environment for problem-solving. Try going outside or sitting in a peaceful room at a museum or art gallery. Guard against the common decision-making pitfalls of:
- Being out of touch with your own feelings and values.
- Continuing to play the last game. “This will be my last party. My last binge. My last drink.” Making the same decisions because of past bad decisions.
- Allowing emotions to rush decisions. “I have to decide right now about having sex with Joe or he’ll never see me again”.
- Allowing emotions to drag out decisions. “I’ll think about it later.”
Once you’ve generated some alternatives, consider the pro’s and cons of how you feel about the future implied by each choice. Collect all of the information available and information about the probable outcome of each course of action. Check your values, assets, resources, and limitations. Write them down. Use the facts and give yourself time to imagine what each decision result would be like. How ashamed or proud would you be? How bored? How energetic? Use your intuition. Your feelings, needs, and wants must be given serious consideration along with the facts. Weigh the pros and cons of each action or solution. Then, decide on one you can fully commit to. Now, make your choice, write it down, and take action (Malouff, 2006).
Problems are often opportunities. Addiction, conflict, anger, depression or anxiety can be problems. Or, they can be opportunities to change your life for the better.